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Minding Michigan

Minding Michigan is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state.

Spencer Walz
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Spencer Walz began struggling with anxiety back in grade school.

Now 25, he speaks from hard-won experience when he talks about helping young people struggling with mental health issues, and how best to help them overcome fears that talking about it will cause additional problems.

pictures of rock garden
Courtesy of @GHHSBucs / Twitter

When a teen is depressed and wrestling with thoughts of suicide, the stigma associated with mental illness can be a huge barrier to reaching out for help.

That's why the culture and climate at school is so crucial. Schools need teachers and administrators who know the warning signs of a mental health crisis and what to do next to support their students. 

At Grand Haven Public Schools, six students have died by suicide since 2011. Those tragic losses have spurred the district to revamp the way they talk about mental health. 

kids walking in a school hallway
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Fewer teens  are dying from accidents and disease, but teen deaths from suicide continue to rise.

The Michigan chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is offering two programs to high schools for students, teachers and parents in an effort to address this issue.

ryanknap / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Mental health therapy can take many forms. But what about running?

Sasha Wolff founded a group called “Still I Run.” The group's goal is to encourage people struggling with mental health issues to get out and run. She spoke to Stateside about running for mental health.

Craig Mauger

This story was produced as a collaboration between Michigan Radio and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. Graphics by Kaye LaFond. 

Michigan lawmakers who will decide whether to hand health insurance plans a major victory this spring have received about $1 million in contributions from committees and executives connected to the plans.

A woman in a dark room
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alachuacounty/12178605035/

 

 

When mental illness strikes a loved one, the first person many families turn to is often a faith-based leader: a priest, a minister, a rabbi, or an imam.

The Ninth Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference aims to help clergy do a better job of helping members of their congregation who are suffering from mental illness.

The conference will run April 13-14th at the Michigan State University Department of Psychiatry.

Thanks to the Community Mental Health Authority in Lansing, Jerri Nicole Wright is 26 years sober and is on the "road to recovery".
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The future of mental health in the state of Michigan is at a crossroads. Governor Rick Snyder has $2.4 billion in mental health care funding to spend. Lawmakers and advocates on both sides of the health care debate are trying to determine who should manage that money.

Jerri Nicole Wright is a Lansing resident and longtime consumer of state mental health service. She joined Stateside to talk about her journey through Michigan's mental health care system.

Nick Savchenko / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A personal tragedy can open your eyes to things that had previously been out of sight and out of mind.

For Abby Dart, it was her husband’s suicide in 2004. That loss opened her eyes to the stigma we’ve built up around mental health problems. She believes that stigma killed her husband Steve.

Flickr user/Benjamin Watson / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some call it the Doubting Disease.

OCD—Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder—is when you've got recurring, uncontrollable thoughts and behaviors. 

A Health Blog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder wants the $2.4 billion in mental health Medicaid money to be turned over to private insurance companies to manage.

He believes that Medicaid funds will be better spent and more people with behavioral issues and mental illnesses will be better served. Mental health would be integrated with physical health under the HMOs.

Many mental health advocates and patients don’t like the idea.

Jon Olav Eikenes / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Trauma comes in many forms: from refugees who were forced to walk over dead bodies as a child on the way to school in a war-torn country, to survivors of sexual assault, to the spiritual trauma many feel living in a nation that is divided and bitter.

Dr. Farha Abbasi, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University, joined Stateside to talk about her definition of trauma, what can cause it and how to treat it.

The Toad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The question of how to improve Michigan's $2.4 billion mental health care system has been on the front burner for the better part of a year.

The latest twist came when Michigan's 11 Medicaid health plans called on state policy makers to give them a greater say in controlling the system. But it was concern over this very action, of moving control of mental health services out of the public's hands and turning it over to for-profit insurance companies, that sparked the year-long dialogue in the first place.

The move blindsided those who were working on a proposal they thought everyone had agreed upon, including the health plans. Among them is Kevin Fischer, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Michigan

Nom & Malc / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Type the words “holiday depression” into Google search and you will get nearly a million hits.

It's tough enough when you're feeling down, feeling completely out of step with everybody else. But it's even tougher now, during the holidays, with those messages of cheer, those "tidings of comfort and joy."

Dr. Farha Abbasi, a Michigan State University psychiatrist, joined Stateside today to talk about navigating the holiday season if you, or someone you care about, are struggling with depression.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Early this year, Governor Rick Snyder sent shock waves through Michigan's mental health care community when his proposed 2017 budget included changes in who would control the purse strings.

The Governor proposed taking much of the $2.4 billion mental health care system and switching that from public mental health organizations to private HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations).

A workgroup made up of state officials, mental health advocates, insurance industry representatives, state mental health providers, and others were formed to look at the issue.

Last week the group released a draft report that, in essence, saw the state reversing its course on shifting mental health funding, at least for now.

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan has a fierce fight on its hands. A fight to keep people out of the clutches of opioid and heroin addiction. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offers some stunning numbers that show how badly this fight is going. 

In 1999 there were 99 heroin or opioid overdose deaths. In 2014, that number climbed to 1,001. 

That's 10 times as many deaths in just 15 years.

Chris O'Droski and Caitlin Darfler told us that many people struggling with addiction simply don't know there are alternative to Alchoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
Flickr User Chris Yarzab / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When it comes to finding a pathway to helping an addict to recovery, most people and most courts think of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

The popular view is that AA and NA are the only ways for someone to get clean and sober, and stay that way.

But there are other options, organizations like SMART Recovery, LifeRing Secular Recovery and the Buddhist Recovery Network

For some, these alternatives can do what AA and NA could not.


The holidays can be a happy time, but gathering family members around the Thanksgiving table can also resurrect tensions and old resentments.

Courtesy of Marcel Price

It's a real challenge to talk about mental health issues and challenges — even more so when you're young, when you feel like an "other."

Marcel Price is tackling that challenge through poetry and spoken word. As "Fable The Poet,” this young Michigander writes about mental wellness. And in his work with Mental Health America, he's traveling to high schools around Michigan and across the country, helping kids understand their shared struggles.

A Health Blog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

What do we really mean when we talk about mental health and mental illness? We use those terms so often, but do we really understand what we’re talking about?

Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program Facebook page

Dr. Perry Baird was a Texas-born and Harvard-trained physician. In the '20s and '30s, his medical career was on the rise. And he became more and more interested in what caused “manic depression,” as it was known at the time.

Today, we know it as bipolar disorder.

"Hearing voices" is known as an auditory hallucination. The Mental Health Foundation tells us that it may or may not be associated with a mental health problem.

It's the most common type of hallucination in people with disorders such as schizophrenia. 

There's a stigma that follows such hallucinations. If you speak openly about hearing voices, you're likely to be labeled, medicated, even hospitalized. 

But the Hearing Voices Network thinks it has another way to help people understand and learn to live with those voices. 

Courtesy of 5iveit Entertainment

As part of our series "Minding Michigan," we explore mental health issues in our state.

Today, we introduce you to Patrick Cleland, better known as Rick Chyme.

He’s a rapper from West Michigan who's been collaborating with local artists from around the state and has several project in the works.

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder has put forth a proposal to privatize all or part of Michigan's mental health system. The governor has suggested $2.4 billion be shifted to Medicaid HMOs rather than public mental health organizations, according to reports in Crain’s Detroit Business.

Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley has been heading up discussions with work group of public mental health agencies and advocacy groups. But it appears those talks have broken down.

Dr. Daniel Maixner says depictions of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), like this one in the TV show "Homeland," have harmed the public's perceptions of the treatment. Dr. Maixner calls ECT a "miracle."
Image from the program "Homeland" / Showtime

In the latest edition of Stateside's series Minding Michigan, which explores mental health issues in our state, we take a closer look at electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). 

ECT is largely known as "electroshock therapy," but many in the field consider that to be an outdated term. ECT is a mental health treatment that can be effective for some patients with certain disorders. However, largely because of the way its been portrayed in film or television, ECT is wrapped in stigma and misconception. The University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry has just opened a new mental health unit that expands its ability to offer electro-convulsive therapy to patients.

A Grand Rapids therapist is using virtual reality technology to help his patients confront traumatic environments.
Flickr user UTKnightCenter / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

Virtual reality doesn’t immediately pop into mind when you think about psychotherapy, but one therapist is using this burgeoning technology to treat his patients.

Tom Overly is using multi-sensory virtual reality technology to help patients confront their fears and anxieties. He’s the owner of VR Therapy and Counseling Center in Grand Rapids.

http://www.ceicmh.org/

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

How well does Michigan do in helping people who are suffering from mental health problems?

When it comes to the mental health care safety net, the answer is troubling. It seems that Michiganders who have private insurance are the ones whose safety net is weakest. 

Ian Hartley
Courtesy of Julie Hartley

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

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